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8 Ideas for Prioritizing Your Mental Health

You can be fine, then you have a moment of feeling bad, then you start drowning in thoughts, mostly of the negative kind. I feel like a walking time bomb some days, like I’m going to explode at any point. Many people can probably relate to this, but maybe for different reasons. For me, my emotions are out of control; they’re a mix of extremes that can change — not just over long periods, but throughout the day. Then some days, I have no idea what it is I’m thinking or feeling. I just have a sense of my mind being somewhat out of control. And more often than not, my attitude and behavior reflects that.

As I’ve mentioned on my blog, I believe quitting just a little can be OK, even if this has to happen more than once. I thought I was fine, but I wasn’t. I didn’t know how I felt; I didn’t know what I wanted. I was lost. Again. So last week, I quit my job, and with four months until I have to go back to university, I’ve decided that my mental — and, in some ways, physical — health is going to be a priority. A real priority this time. Damn, I’m going to make myself and the people who love me proud.

Here are some things I’d recommend considering if you’re going to make a little space for your mental health:

1. Do not rely on yourself alone to get better. Even if you’re one for needing control. I don’t just mean getting help from family, friends, etc. Of course, they’re a must. But I mean real help — therapy help. This can be one of the hardest parts. It can feel like you’re getting no help at the time, like you’re just hitting brick walls repeatedly. But honestly, I’ve found having someone acknowledge there is a problem, and assuring they can help you, does help, even just a little. It can give you hope that these messy feelings aren’t going to control you forever.

2. Do help yourself. Therapy/counseling takes time. There are waiting lists; there are many people who need help, which also proves you’re not alone. So in the meantime, help yourself. If you’re prescribed meds, stick with them no matter how hard it is at first, and f*ck the stigma attached to them. If they help, then take the damn things! I know they’re different for everyone, but even taking them at a similar time every day can make a change. Try a self-care box. They aren’t for everyone, but it’s something to try, isn’t it? I’m definitely going to give it a go.

3. Choose an activity or an exercise you actually enjoy. It doesn’t matter how big or small, and it makes no damn difference if other people can’t understand why you like it. It makes no difference if you’re good at it or not. I fall every time I go to gymnastics, sometimes flat on my face. And you know what, it’s funny. Laugh at yourself! Get up, get over it and try again and again.

4. Remind yourself that all is pretty much OK. As silly as it might sound, make yourself little notes, stick them in your room, write them in your journal, note them in your phone. For me, my morning moods are pretty much always low, so checking these when my alarm goes off really does make a difference.

5. Lists are good. To-do lists, or done lists. I’m super, slightly obsessively organized, but I’ve noticed every time I have my down moments, this gets a lot harder. Having simple lists in a notebook or diary for what needs to be done every day really helps me. For the days when I can’t do everything, I write out what I have done. I feel like I’ve accomplished something, and I don’t feel so bad.

6. Have a go-to list of things for bad days. Keep a note of it somewhere — in your phone, your journal, your self-care box. Give it to friends and family so they can suggest things when you’re really having a rough time.

7. Make chores a stress release. This might sound a little weird. Who the hell wants to tidy up or clean when they feel like crap? Fair enough. It really might not work for everyone, but accomplishing anything little, even if it’s just de-cluttering your emails or loading the dishwasher, can give you some sense of achievement, distract your mind and maybe even give you a little exercise. I’m not going to lie, I seriously feel good after I’ve de-cluttered my room on a bad morning.

8. Lastly, have a day just for you. Set a day, or just take one when you need one. Do whatever you like. Nap all day if you feel like it. Just have time out.

Make your mental health a priority, and in time, things may get easier.

Image via Thinkstock.

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8 Ideas for Prioritizing Your Mental Health